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The Orion

Lucky equalizer for the Wildcats

Mikey Hirsch running towards Holy Names player in exhibition match Saturday night. Photo credit: Lucero Del Rayo-Nava

With the Men’s Soccer season starting to pickup again, Chico State took on Holy Names University in an exhibition match under the Saturday night lights. The Wildcats took home a tie, with the final score 1-1. While the game does not count toward the team’s overall record, it does open a window into what we can be expecting to see from the boys this year.

Ben Souza running with the ball in offensive play against Holy Names University Saturday night. Photo credit: Karina Cope

A battle of the defenses would be the best way to describe this game, as each team put forth a strong, resilient defense that made scoring difficult. The second half, however, showcased a bit of a change in the type of soccer we saw from the Wildcats.

“I think first half we kind of struggled a bit getting up the field. So, we were just more focused on defense, making sure they didn’t get any chances on us. Once we got comfortable we started to go forward and attack them,” Center Forward Andrew Hazzard said.

Holy Names put their name on the leader board first with four minutes remaining in the first half. Chico remained scoreless for the entire first half and most of the second, until Holy Names scored an own goal, allowing the Wildcats to put their first number up. The game became tied at 1-1 and stayed this way for the remainder of the game.

While Chico State are still kicking off the summer dust, they are eager to give the fans a show. Summer, however, did give the boys an opportunity to sharpen up their skills to come back stronger and ready to take on this season.

“We came and we worked hard. Everyone was on the same page, just the same as last year. We won league and came in with the right mindset,” Defensive Center Samuel Licona said.

The men's soccer team in a huddle before the start of the second half in their game against Holy Names University Saturday night Photo credit: Karina Cope

The team is looking to dive into the season after working out a few kinks and finding their groove as a whole. With young, new talent on the team returning veterans will be leading the charge and taking on the team’s task at hand.

“I’m really excited for the seniors. I just think that they’ve had a nice career already. They’ve made the playoffs, they’ve made the NCAA Tournament, they’re going to bring some leadership to the group,” Head Coach Felipe Restrepo said. “I’m excited for them to kind of take control of the team, really mold it in the way they want to, and really set some good outcomes for themselves and chase some nice goals.”

Head Coach Felipe Restrepo advising Center Forward Andrew Hazzard from the sideline on Saturday in an exhibition match against Holy Names University. Photo credit: Lucero Del Rayo-Nava

With much to look forward to this 2019 season, Chico State soccer fans are sure ready to pick up where they left off and get right into the swing of things. We will see what this new, talent-filled team brings to the table in their next game on September 5th at Western Washington.

Karina Cope can be reached at [email protected] or @KarinaICope on Twitter.

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